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Heaton Park – the Road to Nowhere

by prestwichfocus on February 12, 2013

Work has now sadly started on the access road for the Commercial Soccer centre in the St Margaret’s Corner of Heaton Park. Many thanks to one local resident who took this short video on their phone showing the amount of the damage being done over the weekend.

As people will know, GOALS Soccer Centres were given planning permission three years ago to build the Soccer Centre (17 floodlit artificial soccer pitches and a clubhouse) in the park. This was despite massive opposition.

GOALS have issued statements to the stock market two years running stating that they are NOT building any more soccer centres for the next year – so why is the preliminary work starting now? (See this post for copies of the stock market statements.)

So why, if GOALS are not opening any soccer centres has the work started? The contractors, when asked by a local resident confirmed that they had to start the work this weekend “because of the Planning Permission issue”.

Is this GOALS constructing an access road – which seems strange given that they are not opening any new soccer centres. Or is it Manchester City Council? (who are currently busy closing swimming pools, libraries and making staff redundant).

The issues that made this Commercial Soccer centre a bad idea have not gone away. We already have some excellent hard surface soccer facilities (at Parrenthorn, in Whitefield and in Higher Broughton), and if there is a need for more in North Manchester then using up parkland is not the answer.

Please help us remind Manchester Council why this is such a bad idea by signing this online petition, and asking your friends and neighbours to do the same.

Next week there is a Heaton Park consultation meeting where these issues can be raised. If there are other issues that need to be brought up please let me know (we already have issues on Bonfire Night, the Fairground and on the proposed concert in June).

Thanks.

3 Comments

3 Responses

  1. peter hawksworth says:

    i note that work started, but they have not been back since sunday. In other words , dug a hole, and left it, its disgraceful!

  2. Linda Doyke says:

    I have in the past given a number of reasons why this scheme should not have been approved, and yes, I admit part of it is to do with ‘not in my back yard’ mentality. I bought my house because of its close proximity to the quiet park and church, and because when I look out of my windows I saw a beautiful line of trees. Yesterday that familiar view appears to have changed. I, and I assume other local residents, have not received any notice of the commencement of this work. Were it not for the communications of Cllr Tim Pickstone, and I say this from a non-political perspective, I would not have a clue what is going on in Prestwich. I think Heaton Park should be part of the National Trust and protected. I cannot ever imagine Tatton Park or similar announcing such a development on their Patch.. Even if we accept that such a facility is appropriate in a park that is said to be the largest Municipal park in Europe, then why on earth has the Council chosen to locate it at the most congested entrance and not at the Middleton Road entrance, with its large gates located on a dual carriageway, minutes off the M60 and at a distance from community homes. Or is it because St Margaret’s entrance is in Bury and not Manchester? I am supportive of local sports facilities but am puzzled. Don’t these exist already in two locations not a quarter of a mile of either side of the Park? Is the status of this private venture likely to change in the future, and this the thin edge of the wedge? Perplexed.

  3. Pete Collins says:

    Has anyone sent a FoI request to Manchester CC asking who carried out the work on whose instruction? If it was not undertaken by a contractor appointed by Goals but one instructed by MCC I would have thought that this would not constitute a start on the project within the 3 year deadline.

    Keep up the good work Tim.

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